Q&As// Teenage Zombies, Developer Darren McGrath

Posted 13 Dec 2007 18:18 by
The InLine Entertainment team - these people make games.
The InLine Entertainment team - these people make games.
There's a lot of crossover between video games and comics at the moment. It goes both ways with plenty of comics like Iron Man, Captain America and Batman getting the treatment. While games like Halo, darkSector and Hellgate are getting made into comics.

Then you've got games like our game du jour, Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys! and comics like Scott Pilgrim heavily referencing the other medium.

Is this the blossoming of a truly beautiful relationship? I decided to find out - beginning with Canadian developer InLight and its aforementioned Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys! (Teenage Zombies from here on in).

So, zombies and aliens. If you're a right-thinking human being, you've got a lot of love for both. If you're not a right-thinking human being, I suggest you turn back now, because Teenage Zombies , as the title suggests, has plenty of both.

It's a DS game that draws on comics and B-movie retro sci-fi for a dollop of side-scrolling fun. Earth, alas, has been invaded by (the clue's in the title!) Brain Thingys (of course, these really should be 'Brain Thingies' but that's why I'm a writer about and not a maker of games). Fortunately for our trio of undead heroes, they're (another clue in the title!) zombies. What do zombies like to munch on? Brains! You can guess what happens next.

Teenage Zombies (Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys!)
Teenage Zombies (Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys!)
A combination of my love for the medium of the comic and all things Canadian led me to follow a trail leading to Victoria, British Columbia. It was from there that game developer InLight's VP of Creative Development, Darren McGrath explained his take on zombies, comics and the Canadian games industry.

SPOnG: There seems to be a good deal of comic-to-game (and vice versa) cross-over and influence. What is it about those media that attracts each other - and why now?

Darren McGrath: Yeah that’s definitely true. I think that to a large extent it’s always been that way although both mediums are becoming increasingly more mainstream – that makes it show up on more people’s radar I suppose. Movies like Sin City and Batman are certainly pointing to that as well.

SPOnG: Rather than taking the more traditional route that comic-themed games have taken (i.e. super-heroes) Teenage Zombies has a more indy feel - or even an old-school EC vibe. Were there any comics in particular that influenced you?

Darren McGrath: In an effort to create a highly original look and feel we elected to not borrow directly from a specific style or series of comic books. It was really more about creating the comic book feel rather than trying to directly emulate something too specifically.

SPOnG: Was there any point when you considered pursuing a license?

Teenage Zombies (Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys!)
Teenage Zombies (Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys!)
Darren McGrath: No, not in this instance. We’re very used to working on some pretty high profile brands. This was a great opportunity to create our own.

SPOnG: What about the retro sci-fi feel? Any films/TV/books in particular that influenced that?

Darren McGrath: Generally speaking our “lo-fi, sci-fi” feel was born in the spirit of those old B-movies like Night of the Living Dead, Evil Dead and The Thing from Another World. Combining the comic book aspect to the story itself was adopted because it was also part of the culture of those times and really helped to support the property that we were trying to establish.
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